Have you ever been jealous of someone? And did you later
discover why? From the experiences of envy in my life, I found that
frequently the roots lay in fear, especially the fear of inadequacy. Through
prayer I learned that this feeling emerged either from my not knowing my
gifts or fearing that others' gifts were so much greater that mine did not
matter. Thus jealousy found a home in my heart. Today's scriptures
tell stories of jealousy that lead to great sin. Here's how these stories
of Jesus helped me to heal these feelings of jealousy and the underlying
fears that provoked them.
Looking briefly at Matthew's parable, I remember that Jesus used parables as a teaching device. Since most people of his time could not read or write, Jesus would tell these kinds of stories so that the audience could later piece together the clues and discover the meaning behind his stories. So let's try that. Parables can be divided into two types: mirror parables, in which we glimpse ourselves; and window parables, through which we glimpse God and the Kingdom. I feel that Matthew's parable acts as a mirror, reflecting a situation and my response to it.
In piecing together the clues of this parable puzzle the people
probably understood that Jesus meant that the vineyard was Israel, the tenants
were Israel's rulers into whose hands the land was entrusted, and the servants
were the prophets who were ignored and killed, and the son obviously was
Jesus. The meaning for us today? We have the great privilege
of being entrusted with the vineyard, that is, to carry on Jesus' mission
in establishing the kingdom. Secondly, our call involves listening
to, not ignoring, the owner's son - Jesus.
I present one caution to you. This parable forces us to
look ahead to the conclusion of Lent, Holy Week and the Son's death. Jesus
calls us into the vineyard to work with him daily, using our gifts to build
up the kingdom. This often entails martyrdom, dying to our needs to
Lastly, the parable refers to the fact that one day we will be
called to accountability for how we used our gifts in the vineyard. Jesus
never gives a call without giving the gifts and graces to accomplish that
call. This story has helped me in embracing my gifts and allowing the
Lord to use them. It's the legend of the musk deer. When the
musk deer reaches puberty, there is a glandular explosion releasing the most
intoxicating fragrance known to humans. The deer then begins a relentless
pursuit of the source of that beautiful fragrance. It races and rushes
endlessly, searching until it is exhausted and it dies.... never knowing
that the source of that beauty lay within.
The source of our gifts, of our beauty lies within. Listen today for his voice as you both go forward into the vineyard.
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